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How to get beyond negative Yelp reviews? Six tips to help.
A friend looked on Yelp yesterday before going for dental surgery, but in her case it was too late. She already made the appointment before she saw the list of negative complaints, and decided to stop reading. She won’t visit that dentist again: Yelp was right.
If you look at online reviews such as Yelp before you buy something or use a service, you’re not alone. What happens if something negative shows up? You move on, right?
But as a business owner—such as that dentist–what can you do if someone writes a negative review?
First, let me say that it’s almost impossible to remove once it’s been posted. Instead, are some suggestions that might help.
Do you deserve it?
Let’s start with the problem that caused the negative Yelp review in the first place. Did you deserve it? We’re all human and sometimes we make mistakes—and this applies to the client/customer as well as the business owner. You can never please everyone all the time, so an occasional bad review is just part of doing business. However, look hard and to see what is your part in the issue, and take ownership.
Learn from them
What can you learn from the bad review? If it’s not really your fault, then try to move on. If it seems to be a systemic problem with your business, be thankful! Many owners cringe or feel anger when seeing a bad review, and that’s okay, but it can be a huge help. Use it to your advantage and make changes to prevent it from happening in the future.
Don’t write your own reviews
I hear clients ask if they can write their own reviews. Don’t. Yelp is pretty good at weeding out fake reviews. Don’t hire someone else to do it either: this is illegal, unless you admit that you are compensating the reviewer. If it gets out, your online reputation is ruined even more.
Contact the reviewer—maybe
Contacting the reviewer might be a good idea–or it could be a disaster. If you feel the need to dispute the review, do so politely and professionally. Offer an apology, a future discount, or say you are working on the problem and thank them for bringing it to your attention. However, responding can make things worse in two ways. First, it can further engage the reviewer, causing them to respond with more vitriol. Second, it triggers Google or other search engines to rank the site higher.
Create a positive campaign
One way around a bad review is to generate good ones. You might identify clients you have a good relationship with or who are satisfied with your work, and suggest that they express how they feel online.
Add new, good content
Finely, adding content about your business is a great way to counteract poor reviews. Inundate the web with positive information with blog posts, note worthy events, presentations or videos to push the negative links down and off the first page. This is very time consuming, however, and is a long term approach.
So, if negative Yelp reviews lead to a bad online reputation, there are ways to manage or repair it.